Alberta farmers who submit a levy to the Alberta Wheat Commission (AWC) and the Alberta Barley Commission (ABC) have voted in favour of amalgamating the commissions, based on the preliminary results of two plebiscites that were conducted over the month of October.
89 per cent of the ballots cast through the Alberta Barley plebiscite and 88 per cent of votes through the Alberta Wheat plebiscite supported the merger. A total of 1,569 ballots were cast, representing a 6.1 per cent participation rate.
“A clear direction was provided by both wheat and barley farmers on the preferred path forward for the organizations,” said Tara Sawyer, chair for ABC, in a news release announcing the results. “We look forward to informing our farmers on the next steps in the process at our winter meetings.”
The results are deemed to be preliminary for 15 business days, the period during which they can be contested.
The two commissions have shared office space and administrative staff since 2013, and have been operating with a joint management structure since late 2017.
“This process has been five years in the making, complete with striking of a sub-committee comprised of both wheat and barley farmers, formal consultations with farmer stakeholders and culminating with two plebiscites,” said Greg Sears, AWC chair. “Both commissions have done their due diligence to ensure this is the right direction for our members and are eager to engage farmers on the path forward.”